The new kid on the block at All Metals Market is more powerful than a small community, and can chew up an entire car in one bite.
The company recently completed installation at its Fremont facility of a Drake, Bonfiglioli shredder system capable of shredding tin, iron, mixed metal grades -- even entire automobiles -- and sorting the end product into fist-sized or smaller pieces.
The company held trial runs with the system last week, and began this week running it full-time.
In one run, the company stuffed a full-size, three-quarter ton, extended-cab, long-box pickup into the shredder.
“That’s about as big as you can get,” All Metals owner Kevin Yount said. “It ran through fine.”
The multi-million dollar system, built in Bologna, Italy, features an input hopper, the shredder mill, two drum magnets for sorting ferrous metals, and a configuration of conveyors and eddy current magnetic systems to sort out downstream material after the heavy ferrous is removed.
The shredder mill contains 16 hammers rotating on a shaft at about 1,000 rotations per minute.
“It just grinds up the material as it’s being fed through,” Yount said. “Until the material is small enough to fall through the grates, it stays in that mill and gets beat up”
After the material falls through the grates, the giant rotating magnetic drums send steel onto a conveyor belt, diverting everything else to a second conveyor, which then uses another magnetic system to repel aluminum onto a third conveyor while the remaining “fluff” -- items that cannot be recycled -- continues on its way.
All three conveyors then roll through “picker houses” – one for steel, one for aluminum, and one for fluff. In the steel and aluminum picker houses, pickers manually sort out items that slipped through the process, such as copper wires, before the conveyor piles the remaining steel or aluminum to be loaded onto trucks as marketable grades suitable for domestic or foreign consumers. In the fluff picker house, pickers pull out recyclable material that the system missed. The remaining waste is hauled to a landfill.
“We can sell direct to consumers now, to the mills, instead of trying to rely on other dealers to sell product,” Yount said.
The system is capable of shredding 20 to 30 tons per hour.
Previously automobiles had to be sold to other recyclers for processing.
Yount said the system is referred to as an “auto shredder,” accurately describing the size of items it can shred, but any recyclable items can run through it.
“You’ll see hot water heaters, furnaces, appliances, cars, farm machinery, you’ll see all that go through there,” he said.
Before being fed into the system, vehicles go through a thorough preparation process where things like oil, batteries, mercury switches, antifreeze and fuel tanks are removed.
Facilities Manager Todd Hoppe oversaw installation of the system and designed a metal walkway connecting its components.
“If it wasn’t for a partnership with Omaha Public Power District, we wouldn’t be running today,” Hoppe said. “They put an independent line all the way from the substation by the Fremont Golf Club to here, we’re the only ones on it. They did in three months what usually took them two years to plan and execute. It sounds pretty easy to run an electric line here, but you have to acquire rights of way, you have to make sure you can put poles where you need to, or run wire, and they made it happen.”
The system, Hoppe pointed out, “pulls more (electrical) power than the whole town of Cedar Bluffs combined. In a month’s time we’ll pull more juice than most little communities.”
Installation of the system created six new jobs at All Metals. Operating it takes seven to 11 people, depending on the type of material running through it.
“We need more pickers if it’s scrap that we need to look at closely,” Yount said.
All Metals considered several shredding systems before settling on the same Italian company that earlier this year sold All Metals a large shear. Yount and Hoppe traveled to New Haven, Conn., and Chicago to see the Italian shredding equipment in operation.
Yount said he was impressed with the quality of the product and commitment from owner Cesare Bonfiglioli, who also wanted one of his shredders somewhere in the middle United States working alongside the shear he manufactures.
“He wanted a ‘feature facility’ to showcase his two large pieces of equipment, and our geographical location made a great fit for his company and ours,” Yount said. “We are set up to entertain potential Bonfiglioli customers with our upstairs educational room in the main office, as well as an elevated shredder viewing area just a few feet away from the shredding operation.”